AP: Group Praises China on Climate, Bashes U.S.

     Who is the biggest climate sinner? Not China, says the AP.

     Who is the biggest climate sinner? Not China, says the AP.


     The Associated Press reported November 7 an interest group’s findings that Saudi Arabia and the United States are the worst “climate sinners” for not taking drastic attempts to cut carbon emissions. But it accepted the group’s “relatively positive” assertion that China’s emission growth will slow in the future.


     The news wire story picked up by USA Today reported that Saudi Arabia was the biggest sinner because its policies block attempts to curb greenhouse gases and the U.S. was second because it refuses to sign the Kyoto Treaty.


     Where did China rank? 17th.


     Released at a United Nations conference in Bali, Indonesia, the Climate Action Network-Europe’s findings were compiled by Germanwatch and ranked 56 industrialized and emerging countries measuring “pollution levels and trends, as well as overall climate policy.”


     Time magazine reported in its November 28 issue that China will be spending $200 billion on cleaning up air and water pollution but admitted that the number is close that that of the last budget and is “unlikely to make a difference.”


     Wang Canfa, the head of the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, a Beijing-based National Government Organization told Time that, the amount China is spending (1.35% of GDP) may be short of what is needed to turn the pollution around. Canfa said this number is around 2% to 3% of GDP.

     Beijing's smog has been flagged by many athletes hoping to compete in the 2008 Olympic games as a potential hindrance to their performance.

     On November 19, medical advisors to the Australian Olympic team complained that the Chinese were reluctant to release air pollution test results, according to the International Herald Tribune.

     The world record holder for the women’s marathon, Paula Radcliffe, has also expressed concern over pollution in Beijing as she will be running for over two hours in the race and is an asthmatic.

     Dr. Bruce Hamilton, the United Kingdom Athletics doctor responsible for Radcliffe’s health told the Times Online November 11, “There has been a lot of hype and concern about the pollution levels in Beijing. That is something we have taken on board quite seriously.”

     A recent CNN special, “Planet in Peril,” looked at global threats to the environment and focused on the deadly pollution in China. The network’s Anderson Cooper met government resistance even for asking questions about pollution and was interrogated by police for simply stopping by a polluted river.

     According to Bloomberg, there is a debate in Bali over whether China should be required to cut its emissions as those countries that have signed the 1997 Kyoto treaty would be required to do, whilst trying to pull itself out of poverty.

     “The debate about binding commitments for developing countries is not off the table, but it's crawling towards the edge,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change told Bloomberg.

     The U.S. has declined to sign the Kyoto treaty because rapidly emerging economies like China and India wouldn’t be required to make the same reductions as industrialized nations.